Niger Delta minister, Godswil Akpabio, and his colleague, Ogbonnaya Onu, science and technology minister, have resigned. The duo joined junior education minister, Emeka Nwajiuba in leaving the cabinet after President Muhammadu Buhari directed that any cabinet ministers seeking to run in next year’s elections should resign before 16 May. Under the electoral law that was amended in February, no political appointees can contest party primaries or vote during such primaries. Nigerians will go to the polls early next year to choose a new president, state governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives. “Mr President has directed all members of the federal executive council who are contesting elective offices must resign on or before May 16. Subsequently, it may affect other government appointees in due course,” Lai Mohammed told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting. Mohammed said vice president Yemi Osinbajo, who wants to succeed Buhari, was exempted from the directive since he was jointly elected with incumbent Buhari. Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party will hold primary elections to select candidates, including for president, at the end of this month. Ministers for transportation and labour, Rotimi Amaechi and Godswill Akpabio, are among seven cabinet ministers who have announced plans to run for president or governorships. Buhari will step down next year after serving two full terms. More than 20 APC candidates have registered to contest the primary vote.

At least seven soldiers were killed and two others were missing after they were ambushed by gunmen while on patrol in Taraba, Reuters cites two military sources as saying on Wednesday. The attack occurred on Tuesday night when troops from the 93 Battalion came under heavy fire in the village of Tati in the Takum local government area. A brigadier general and his aide were missing after the attack, the sources said. “Right now a search and rescue operation is ongoing,” said an army source from the 93 Battalion who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the media. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. The army has not commented on the incident. Taraba suffered two separate bombings last month that were claimed by Islamic State militants and killed at least three people and injured more than 30.

Former president, Goodluck Jonathan, has decided to run for president in 2023, barely 48 hours after disowning a nomination form procured for him by a northern group. Mr Jonathan had on 9 May rejected the presidential expression of interest and nomination forms of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) bought for him by a Fulani group. He later visited APC chairman Abdullahi Adamu, a shuttle his aides said was to distance himself from the purchase. However, the state-run newswire, News Agency of Nigeria, reported that Mr Jonathan has finally made up his mind to vie for the top post he lost to the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, in 2015. NAN also reported that the former president has also joined the APC formally, having registered at his Otuoke Ward in Bayelsa. Meanwhile, Mr Jonathan is expected to submit the duly filled forms bought on his behalf on Thursday. According to NAN, the former president has secured the support of the required number of APC delegates from across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Eight soldiers were killed and 13 wounded in an attack in northern Togo on Wednesday, the government said, marking potentially the first deadly raid on its territory by Islamist militants who have killed thousands in neighbouring countries. Before dawn, a group of heavily armed gunmen ambushed an army post in the Kpendjal prefecture near the border with Burkina Faso, the government said in a statement. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. The government blamed “terrorists”, without providing specifics. Security analysts said the attack was likely carried out by a local al Qaeda affiliate that is based in Mali but in recent years has spread south into Burkina Faso. Groups linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda have carried out hundreds of attacks across the Sahel region of West Africa in recent years, focusing mainly on the landlocked countries of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali. Togo has so far been spared the violence, which has forced millions to flee their homes, but security experts have warned about a spread in operations that could encompass coastal states like Togo. In 2018, Togo’s military launched an operation to stop Islamist groups ghosting in from the north. Security forces repelled an attack by gunmen on an outpost in the same area Wednesday’s attack occurred in November, without sustaining casualties. It said at the time that the attackers had come over the border from Burkina Faso. Togo’s coastal neighbour, Benin, has seen a sharp rise in attacks near its northern border with Burkina Faso. Five soldiers were killed last month when an army convoy struck an improvised explosive device.